Multi-Channel Sales is a modern term recognising that sales orders no longer come only from office based telesales or field reps taking orders and collecting PLOFs. Today, customers also want to order in other ways – by fax, EDI, e-mail, or over the web, for instance.

How does this affect wholesalers?

Wholesalers need to invest in a range of technologies in order to accept these new ways of ordering and establish careful procedures to avoid confusion and errors such as orders being duplicated or missed.

How can IT help?

As well as providing all the relevant technologies, a good wholesale system should collect all orders into one central point so they can be properly managed, the customer serviced professionally and the order value maximised. It should allow, for example, a web order to be reviewed, a call-back made for confirmation and up-selling, and then the planned proactive telesales call cancelled, all from a single screen.

It should allow a rep to dial in, check a customer’s prices and order status, or view new products. In other words, have as much access to the system as he would in the office.

A key benefit is that the single view facilitates analysis of sales and stock availability so star or problem accounts can be quickly spotted and handled accordingly.